A 23-year-old woman visiting NYC from Australia was fatally struck by a private sanitation truck driver on the Upper West Side on Friday afternoon. She had been in the bike lane, but had to swerve out of it when a livery cab suddenly blocked it, according to police.
Madison Jane Lyden, a swim teacher from Geelong, was on a rented bicycle and biking north in the Central Park West bike lane just before 4:45 p.m. when a parked black Toyota livery car suddenly “pulled out into the bike lane,” police say. Lyden then swerved out of the bike lane around 66th Street and into regular traffic—and was then struck by the private sanitation truck driver, also going north.
A witness told the Daily News, “She flew and hit the concrete on her head.” Another witness added that Lyden had been with a friend, who “was shouting, ‘Baby, baby, baby, wake up.”
Lyden was taken to Roosevelt Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Both the livery cab and truck drivers remained at the scene. The truck driver, Felipe Chairez, 44, was arrested for DWI; beer cans were reportedly found in his vehicle. WABC 7 reports, “According to the co-owner of Central Park Sightseeing, Lyden was with another woman on vacation, and rented bikes from City Hall. The two reportedly rode around Lower Manhattan on Thursday, and enjoyed it so much that they decided to tour Central Park and the Upper West Side on a bike on Friday.”
Mayor de Blasio said, “Of course there has to be a full investigation, but this is an example from my point of view of the danger of reckless driving.”
“Madison Jane Lyden is dead because her bike lane was blocked,” Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White said in a statement. “It’s tragic, yes, but all the more unconscionable because this was a crash waiting to happen. Every day in this city, bike lanes meant to protect people on bikes are used as drop-off lanes, parking lanes, and idling lanes for lazy and entitled drivers. As a city we should be ashamed, because this death could have been prevented. More and more people are traveling by bike in our city, and they need safe, protected space. And while we have more protected lane-miles today than ever before, this preventable death underscores the need for every major street in New York City to have a safe, protected space to travel by bike.”